During lunch, a member of the House of Representatives from Dover approached the youths' table in the State House cafeteria and started chatting. All youth shared their transition goals---an important bridge to adulthood---but especially important for youth who've been in state's custody. Two were fairly engaged throughout conversations, articulately noting changes they'd like to see to ease their transitions. One youth suggested that Guardian ad litems (GALs) should be Educational Surrogates when possible, not placing this expectation on foster parents. Another youth suggested better regulations for quality foster homes. The third youth did not share their view publicly, but shared with the Laraway group their feeling that law enforcement needs to be trauma informed. The representative from Dover encouraged our youth to reach out to their local representatives.
There was a photo op with Senator Bobby Starr of Orleans County and friendly introductions and exchanges with Lt. Governor David Zuckerman.Youth received a tour of the State House and witnessed House passage of a resolution naming the day, April 13, 2017, as Youth Development Program (YDP) and Vermont Coalition of Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs (VCRHYP) Youth Awareness Day.
It was a long---11 hours---and exciting day. Laraway youth participants expressed satisfaction that they attended and would encourage other youth to participate in the future. Spending time talking with legislators and meeting Lt. Governor Zuckerman were highlights.The representative from Dover was phenomenal---super genuine and engaging. Another great day with our youth!